Federal & State Minimum Wage
Under Federal law, employers are required to provide a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for employees. In states, with a higher minimum wage, the higher wage prevails. The State of Florida ties minimum wage increases to the annual growth of the Consumer Price Index. The current minimum wage for Florida is $8.05. There is currently a Florida Senate Bill in committee, which would raise the Florida minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Federal Overtime Laws
Covered non-exempt employees are entitled to 150% of their regular wages for every hour they work beyond 40 hours in a standard workweek. These hours cannot be adjusted if you are paid bi-weekly, but the days of your workweek may vary by the employer (i.e. Sunday – Saturday; Monday – Sunday; Wednesday-Tuesday). There is no limit to the number of hours an employee may work above 40 hours, so long as they are paid accordingly and are over the age of 16 years old.
The definition of “exempt employees” has evolved over the years due to court rulings. Just because your employer uses the term “exempt” or “independent contractor” does not necessarily mean you are not covered by overtime requirements. Salaried employees, tipped employees, and even commissioned sales representatives may still have a claim in federal court for unpaid wages. Employees who receive a 1099 IRS Form may also be covered by FLSA laws.
FLSA requires that employees be compensated for all time that they “suffer or permitted to work”. This definition may vary upon the circumstance. For instance, if an employee is engaged by their employer and caused to wait without production, employers may still be required to compensate them at their hourly rate. An illustration of this is an employee who must drive or ride in their employer’s work vehicle to a remote site, this employee is due to compensation under FLSA. However, an employee who commutes 30 minutes to work and waits outside their employment location reading a newspaper, is not due compensation. This is just one example of the many nuisances within the regulation. Other examples of murky FLSA areas are “on-call” times, time spent in security checks, rest & meal times, travel time (non-commute), and time spent correcting errors or additional services.
A recent Federal Court Ruling in California held that Apple retailers had the right to have employees wait in line for bag checks without pay to counter internal theft from employees. This was a landmark case and may open up similar practices for employers across the country.
Employers are required to post FLSA rules and posters in their offices and service locations. These posters must be inconspicuous locations and may be ordered, free of charge from the US Department of Labor.
Employers are also required to keep detailed records of non-exempt employees. These records must include, name, Date of Birth, Social Security number, address, along with detailed payroll records for hours worked, wages, and payment dates. These records must be kept for up to three years and available for inspection upon request from a Dept. of Labor Wage and Hour Division representative.
Restrictions and protection of the use of child labor were the primary goals when the Fair Labor & Standards Act of 1938 was passed. Children during the industrial boom of the early 20th Century were often abused, neglected, and suffered horrible working conditions. Since the passage of the FLSA, the federal government has taken the lead in ensuring working conditions for minors are safe. Many states have their own regulations regarding the employment of children and employers and employees should carefully read these laws to ensure compliance.
Employment and Labor Attorneys Serving North Florida
The constant changes in employment and labor law may be difficult for employers and employees to keep up with. Every year, employers spend billions of dollars in legal fees to avoid litigation and navigate their way through federal and state labor laws. The attorneys of Massey & Duffy, PLLC have over 30 years of combined experience dealing with employment law and assisting clients to recover unpaid wages and overtime. Call (352) 505-8900 today to schedule your FREE CONSULTATION!